Maia Irell

First of all, we would like to thank the sponsors and humans who have helped make this festival possible. Belle Property, Hepburn Shire Council, Bendigo Bank, Bellinzona, Lost Magazine, Radius Art Gallery, Shine Communication, Hepburn Distillery, Passing Clouds and Pace SEO optimisation.

We have to thank Lorne & Juanita for building such a beautiful Words in Winter website and Trevor Miller for helping me figure out to use it! Words In Winter runs on the backs of volunteers and these days, those are few and far between- so if you love this festival, please consider donating some of your time to keep it going. David Hall started it 19 years ago and we’d like to see it continue for another 19! It has been my great privilege to run it with the formidable Kevin Childs for the last 7 years. There may not be much money in it but there is so much currency in the kindness, creativity and conversation with authors and audience alike.

This festival is special because it is based in a special community where people care, create and are curious. I was so proud to see that the Melbourne Holocaust Museum shared our post about Alex Miller and Jane Sullivan’s event on Max, on their holocaust Memorial Day just a few days ago. And then it dawned on me that this is all very important and unique and we need to keep a record of it.. So, we have been able to, with the kind donation from Petrus Spronk to our story slam, The Cicada, been able to procure recording equipment with which to do just that.

We are looking forward to tomorrow, our opening night with Jayne and Basil of the amazing and local Hepburn Distillery. They will be on site on Friday night if you want to purchase a bespoke gin and tonic. Also, Passing Clouds wine will be available by the glass. We’ll have tea, coffee and local spring water (provenance: Locarno spring) too Cheers!

We’ll also have books for sale at Radius and Bellinzona events.

Here’s yet another recap of the weekend:
The festival starts with a writing workshop at 1:00 pm at Radius Art Gallery with Lu Sexton. At 4 pm, don’t miss Little Infinities, a talk on the sonnet by our own Toby Symes. The festival launch begins at 5 pm with Daylesford College students sharing their poetry, zine, live music including singing and saxophone! Don’t miss this exciting night! 6 pm is our open mic poetry slam and then Petrus presents at 7:30!

Saturday morning will start with Mark Dickenson’s writing workshop sponsored by Writers Victoria, followed by a Q & A session with Eloise Grills and Caitlin McGregor at 11 am. At noon, Di Percy talking Elderhood & The Grail at Radius Art Space. 1 pm, at Bellinzona, Alex Miller and Jane Sullivan will chat about Alex’s new book, MAX. Following at 2:30 will be Carmel Bird and Dennis Altman talking about the writing life. Then, at 4, Mahmood Fazal and Osman Faruqi will converse about “Otherness”, also sponsored in part by Writers Victoria. At 5:30, award winning poet Ross Gillett launches his new book followed by local musician Trevor Shard performing ‘songs in the key of “L”‘ to lead into the launch party for ‘Dance or Drown’ and readings by Mark Dickenson’s writing class. Also on the Saturday evening, hosted by Artist as Family is Fire Circle: a community grief ritual at an undisclosed location.

Sunday morning welcomes Carmel Bird at 11 am at Radius reading excerpts with live cellos. At 2 pm, Yandoit presents Winter Solstice: Musings on a Common Theme from Uncommon Places. At 3:00 back at Radius, Beverly Risstrom presents her funeral fireside chats, a witty look at planning for the end. And to conclude the festival, co-founder of Permaculture, David Holmgren, will announce the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry prize followed by music with Sambodhi Prem and Sandipa.

Enjoy perusing the programme, and please share any information about the festival with friends and family, near and far! Thank you for support and interest. May words make the world a better place. And may these words in this winter warm us up.

Love, Maia

Maia Irel is the Festival Director of Words in Winter.